Earth Hour

Earth Hour


Do you and your family do anything special for Earth Hour?

I know it’s not a holiday, and it’s only for an hour, so time is limited, but I just wondered if anyone else out there has any traditions for this day.

Our family does.

We began this little tradition when Earth Hour began in 2007, and the kids still enjoy it to this day:

We shut off as much as possible. Electronics, computers, lights, we go dark. We light a whole lot of candles, use flashlights if necessary, and we even have a wind-up radio (a bit of a pain if you ask me but whatever!).

Then we pull out a board game or two and set it up in our candle-lit kitchen and we play together, as a family.

Often, we go over the hour because we are having so much fun, and it’s almost a shame to turn the lights back on again, but we thoroughly enjoy the time together.

As kids get older, though, it’s tougher and tougher for them to put the electronics down on the best of days, much less on the day of Earth Hour, but they do know there is a greater purpose, so we usually don’t have too many problems with getting them to give it up for one tiny little hour.

What I do NOT recommend is playing a game like Monopoly (that game is NEVER a short one) or PayDay (which is a game we love but have given up for the reason I’m about to explain)…

Board games that deal with handling play money, or writing anything down, or hundreds of tiny game pieces, none of that works very well in dimly lit situations… make a Family Game Night and play those more in-depth games then.

Aim for simplicity in your game choice. For example, for us tonight, it will be Uno or Sorry…

Another plus for your Earth Hour evening: SNACKS! Everything is better with snacks!

Little kids will LOVE this, because it’s almost like a party, and kids LOVE parties! Make it as festive and exciting as possible, and if you DO have small children, skip the real candles and go for flameless candles. Keep those little fingers and faces safe! Have some flashlights and fresh batteries ready!

Lastly, make sure to mark it on your calendar, and remind that kids that Earth Hour is coming up. It builds the excitement if they’ve experienced a fun Earth Hour evening in the past.

I’d love to hear YOUR ideas for making Earth Hour a special occasion!

Photo Challenge – Optimistic

photochallenge-optimistic


January is the month that we have to turn vacation requests in at work. I’m usually excited to do it but it’s getting more and more difficult to work around everyone.


This year, we have a wedding to attend in Ottawa (super pumped about that!) and Tyler’s spending 6 weeks at the military college for cadet camp in Kingston. We’re planning a big camping trip, trying to arrange for several families to attend, while still holding out for Tyler’s return from camp. If it all goes well, I’ll get to see my parents for the first time in person in two years. I’ve really, really missed them. It’s really difficult to be away from them.


So I took on the task of checking the calendar, checking dates and trying to map out how we were going to do this. With Tyler away for so long, we will be putting Caleb in day camp for a couple of weeks and figuring out other arrangements for at least two other weeks. That was our big project this week… and I get pretty excited about planning our family time when it’s still cold and dreary outside.


Devin’s vacation has to be approved first, before I can hand mine in… he has to work around his co-worker’s vacations because they have seniority, but for me, it really doesn’t matter. I am fairly lucky that way!


Yes, I can almost smell the Algonquin pine trees and the evening campfires… I can hear the birds chirping, kids playing and wood being cut for fires. The optimistic was of looking at it is that it’s only 6 months away!


Optimistic

Promises

Promises

I make too many promises to my kids.

Seriously.

And if you know kids, they won’t let you forget any of them.

Our youngest boy has two major interests. Minecraft, and eating. There isn’t a whole lot he doesn’t like to eat, thankfully. But he certainly has his favourites.

When Devin and I were first married, I was making homemade bread, by hand, a couple of times per week. It was a lot of work, for sure, but it was a labour of love. I liked seeing my husband enjoy something I made for him. Then he bought me a breadmaker for Christmas. Ladies, I know getting an electrical appliance is not every woman’s dream gift, but I LOVED it. I was so excited, and couldn’t wait to start using it.

So, I went through the recipe book that came with the machine, and made several kinds of bread. French bread, white bread, cinnamon bread, garlic bread, herbed bread… wow. Our house smelled awesome! Then I made cinnamon rolls.

It’s a bit of a process, but the end result was so worth it. Making the dough is one thing, but then you have to roll it out by hand, make the cinnamon mixture and spread it on, roll it all up, cut the loaf into rolls and fit all of them into a pan and set it in the fridge overnight (I refuse to do all that work upon waking in the morning – ain’t nobody got time for that!). Then, once baked, the icing needs to be made and drizzled on.

Maybe a trip to Cinnabon might be easier.

I’m really not complaining about the work involved… I love seeing how happy he gets when these are placed in front of him. I got to see that look this morning πŸ™‚

So, how Caleb’s appetite and my cinnamon rolls are related is that he has been harassing me for weeks to make them. Along with a meatball casserole I recently discovered on Pinterest. He loves his bread products, and has definitely noticed that we haven’t been eating as many carbs (hence my post “2016 Resolution” and beginning the 21DF). I was doing so well! This kid is sabotaging my plans!

Ah.. it’s just one day… I’m back on plan tomorrow.

What are your favourite comfort foods for winter?

My Blog-spiration

My Blog-spiration

All it takes is a couple of clicks through my posts and it’s easy to see that my family is my inspiration for everything. And no wonder, they are my entire world.

My husband and I came from close-knit families, so it’s just been natural for us to raise our own family this way.

Ever since the kids could sleep through the night, we’ve taken them camping, to parks, the movies, and when they could walk, we taught them to ice-skate and ride bikes. Every time I see a free or cheap family-themed activity that I think we might all enjoy, we try to go.

This, in turn, creates memories and stories. I love that we have fun together. Even more than that, I love that we don’t need to have a lot of money in order to enjoy each other’s company.

It is my goal to not only raise my family this way, but to offer my readers inspiration to do the same with their own families. And to readers whose families have grown up and moved on to have families of their own, I hope I offer them a laugh with my stories, and give them opportunities to share their memories, stories and advice with me.

What is your blog-spiration?

Childhood Revisited

childhood_revisited

Isn’t it funny how vague a lot of our memories are from when we were younger?

I remember feeling so carefree, but unless it was a major event, I don’t remember a lot of specifics. Back when the biggest catastrophe was who was and who wasn’t your friend that day.

I remember playing with my neighbourhood friends, who were also my classmates. Back then, the big thing was collecting beads and making friendship bracelets and friendship pins. For the on-again, and off-again friends. LOL!

I remember building blanket forts on the front porch of our house. I remember my mom making homemade popsicles for my friends and I, and long, lazy summer days. I remember trying to sneak out of the front yard to go JUST down the street to play with a friend who couldn’t come to my house. No matter how many times I tried, my mom was onto me, and always yelled for me to get back in the yard.

I remember when the recession happened in the early eighties, and my mom was pregnant with my youngest brother. I remember my dad’s devastation when him and my mom lost the house, and we had to move. I remember looking at other houses, and I remember not liking the smells of those houses we looked at. None of them were home.

I remember moving into the townhouse, and my cousins and I playing while our parents did all of the work. We got in trouble. We were each sent to a different room for a time-out.

I remember my mom and dad dropping us off at our aunt’s house when she went into labour with my brother. I remember showing my new baby brother off to my new friends. I was so excited. I had a real-life doll! He grew into a trouble-maker and liked to pull my hair as he ran past me, or grind my first lipsticks into my carpet.

Life seemed so simple then. So endless… no worries or stress. An enjoyable day was playing outside with your friends, from lunch time till dusk.

However, even though my kids will never know those same carefree days, I feel blessed to have the technology we have today, in addition to my childhood memories.

What was your childhood like?

Childhood Revisited

Fears

Fears

What are your fears in life?

I’m fairly fearless, but off the top of my head, here are a few, starting with the dumbest fears…

1. Earwigs. Gross.

2. Centipedes. Grosser, and really, what needs THAT many legs?

3. Losing someone I love – I’ve had dreams about losing my children, they scared me so much I woke up crying. I think many parents share this fear.

4. Leaving a job I’ve had for a long time and starting a new venture. Other than sending my resume out to people who will likely never read it, I don’t know where to begin.

5. How I’m going to pay my bills next month now that my hours have been cut at work, hence number 4.

Thankfully I have faith that it will all work out in the end, because it always does (see my post “Keep the Faith“).

How do you manage your fears?

Fearless Fantasies

Coming Out – A Mother’s Story – Part 2

Many people have asked me when I’m going to write a Part Two for my post, “Coming Out – A Mother’s Story“.

What better time to do than at the end of the year, when we celebrate the year we’ve had, and look forward to new beginnings?

It’s been four months since my brave son told me he was gay. You may be wondering how everything went when he came out to our friends and family. Many were understanding and respectful. The family members whom my husband and I figured would have the hardest time with it actually handled it better than we thought they would. We asked Tyler that he respectfully tell close family and friends, in person, or over the phone, before taking it to Facebook, and I’m glad he did.

Shame on the individual who commented that I should “suck it up” and that it has “nothing to do with me”. Like hell it doesn’t. My children are extensions of their father and I. It affects us very much, in a very different way than how it affects HIM. When you’re talking about changing 40 years of upbringing, and what we were taught was socially acceptable, you can bet your ass it’s going to change US, as parents and as people. Another commenter said it perfectly, when she said she could tell I was “trying to change my world view”. BINGO. She hit the nail on the head. I am personally trying to undo years and years of the social “conditioning” that I, personally, have been subjected to.

I’m fairly sure that many people find the news of their child being gay as easy to accept as it is for them to accept the news that it’s raining outside, more than likely because of how they were raised, or maybe it’s because they live in an area where it’s considered the norm. I envy them. Unfortunately, the saying “Hate isn’t born, it’s taught.” is completely true. And while I wouldn’t go as far to say it was “hate” in my case, I know for a fact it was considered wrong. I’m not sure how often I’ll get to see my brother now. And I have no idea if my mother has told my father or not, but there may be a heartfelt letter or email heading to him in the near future, from his only daughter, who’s going to tell him how it’s going to be. Or not going to be. That depends on him, I guess.

So here I am, a mother of a fifteen year old boy, whom I love to the moon and back. He has already overcome a large number of obstacles in his life, and is living happily, knowing his parents love and accept him, even if we are still coming to terms with this “new-to-us” reality. I am so proud of him, as a person and as my son. Nothing will ever change that.

I hate that I wasn’t raised to be more accepting of people who are different. Okay, I was raised that way, but within certain limits. I hate that I was raised to build these walls I have around me, against certain people in the world. I specifically remember my father telling me he would be upset if I ever brought a black man home.Β I thought he was in the stone age. And not gonna lie, I kinda wish that my husband was black, just to spite him πŸ™‚ But that’s the rebel in me, and I love my husband dearly, just the way he is.

Now *I’m* in the stone age, and working hard to get myself out of it. Here, I thought Tyler bringing a girl home would be tough to handle, I know that will be a challenge for me to overcome. I know it’s going to be difficult at times, but every day, it gets easier.

No one wants to think of their children having sex, obviously, but why is that the ONLY aspect I can seem to focus on? There’s so much more to a loving relationship, and I am so excited for him to find that bond with someone; to gush over someone who means the world to him… he deserves that. I want him to have that, and the gender of that person shouldn’t matter.

To any parents out there, who happen to be in my shoes: I want you to know, without a doubt, it’s going to be okay. YOU are going to be okay. The toughest part is over, your child TOLD you.

Your unconditional love will do the rest, I promise you this. I’m sure because my own unconditional love is working to change my heart.

*****************************************************************

This can be and often is, a touchy subject to talk about. There is no right or wrong way to deal with the news of your child being gay, except to withdraw your love and acceptance of them.

I’m sure some will turn away from this post thinking they would do a better job than I have/am. All the power to you. The very last thing I am is perfect, and my son’s news was not easy for me to hear. But if I’m being honest, I’m just glad I didn’t ruin the terrific relationship I have with my son by turning him away. THAT is all that matters to me, and I know that everything else, everything in my head, will fall into place eventually and that my heart will grow to be even more accepting. As much as I wish I could fast-forward to that time, it’s a growing process.

If you are having a tough time dealing with the news of your child being gay/lesbian, TALK IT OUT WITH THEM. Or your spouse. Or a group. Or anyone you know who’s gone through what you’re dealing with. If you are having a tough time, it’s YOU who needs to change… not your child. Don’t sever ties with your loved ones because they don’t meet your standards… change your standards so you can meet their needs.

I’ll be posting my son’s version of this story in a future post.